This blog post is a post I wrote on a personal blog not too long ago. I feel today’s topic is becoming a more and more relevant topic than ever.

Something I want to talk about today is monitoring load in training. What is this you ask? Well in a strength and conditioning environment lots of coaches monitor volume and load that are being placed on to athletes. These loads and volumes are varied across a time period to assist in the achievement of the athletes’ goals. Now a lot o you are probably going to ask ‘How is this relevant to Jiu Jitsu and why is it relevant?’

Let me explain…

It is a process that requires a little bit of commitment and patience. How is it relevant or why is it needed? The general theme within the jiu-jitsu community is that more is better. This is true to a certain extent but if you push, push, push until you are so run down your immune system is fried and you’ve caught ringworm or staph or even picked up an injury then more isn’t enough. More hours on the mat WILL improve your jiu-jitsu. But be smart with it. Not resting properly, not having proper nutrition and sparring like every roll is the final of the worlds, probably isn’t going to last very long before your pretty beat up. Simply put, don’t burn the candle at both ends.

I have been experimenting with a couple of ways of how to monitor load for my training. I think I have found a pretty idiot proof method.

So here it goes…

You’ll need to track the following:

  • Session length (I track sparring time in minutes)
  • *RPE – How hard the session was (scale of 1-10, you can use the Borg 6-20 scale if you like)
  • Sleep (the time I get into bed, the time I fall asleep, the time I wake up, time I get out of bed)
  • Nutrition (I track this separately using MyFitnessPal)

*RPE = Rate of perceived exhaustion (1-10 scale is the simplest)

What next… using a diary or an excel spreadsheet (this is what I use) input the variables I have listed above. For monitoring the load you are going to multiply the session(sparring) length (min) by how hard you ranked the session.

E.g. 60 mins sparring x 7 = 420  (the units don’t mean anything

Do this for each day of the week and find a weekly total. Divide this total by 7 to work out your daily average. You can track this over a few weeks to see if when you feel a bit run down if its because your daily average is really high this week. If your daily average is quite high and you feel crap then maybe ease off the gas a little bit.

If your daily average isn’t too high and you feel like turd then its time to look at your sleep. Tracking the four sleep variables lets you see how much rest time you have and how much actual sleep time you are getting. If you want to get super nerdy you can start trying to work out your sleep cycles.

These are simple ways to track how hard you are pushing it. This way you can work out when you maybe need to take it easy for a day or two to optimise your training in the subsequent weeks. I also like tracking my daily wellness scores (how good I am feeling) just to see if this lines up with the RPE and sparring time scores.

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